This chapter takes its cue from the critique of Benthamite utilitarianism by John Maynard Keynes. It examines the notion of utility maximization, or Max U, at the centre of mainstream economics. Max U can never be an altruist. Even if he helps others, he does so to increase his own utility. Altruism by definition means acting for no personal gain. Utilitarianism is a version of consequentialism. This chapter argues that actions should not be analysed in terms of consequences alone. The virtues and duties of the actor should also be considered. If everyone was a Max U, then we would not impute moral motives to others and the moral fabric of society would disintegrate. Max U is a form of psychopath, who acts ultimately for himself. Both utilitarianism and Hayekian consequentialism have a deficient account of moral motivation and they lead to major policy failures.
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.